Every September, when the kids go back to school, I start to think about my time as a student.
Some memories are good, some bad, some downright embarrassing. (I’ll save those for another article.)
For whatever reason, I got to thinking about how the snack system worked when I was at . (Don’t try to figure it out, I don’t know how either).
I don’t know how it’s set up now or if there even is a snack cart that makes the rounds, but in my day, there was a cart that the fourth-graders brought around filled with various potato chips, Doritos, Fritos and I can’t forget my favorite, Funyuns. Now, it’s probably loaded with yogurt and fruit or some other healthy snack. Or, at least I hope it is.
Each bag cost 25 cents and that was for the small, little miniscule bag with like five chips in it, but hey, there was no such thing as the 99 cents “Big Grab” bag they have now.
Anyway, like I said, the job of selling the snacks was bestowed upon the fourth-graders and for whatever reason, I looked forward to being in the fourth grade for this sole purpose.
To me, it was like being recruited by the IMF. “…Should you choose to accept this mission…”
Each day, two students were chosen to bring the cart classroom to classroom. One student kept charge of the money and the other monitored which snacks were being sold in order to replenish from a lower shelf of extras.
I remember being in younger grades when the teachers would tell us it was snack time and kids would either crack open their lunchboxes or get their money out and we would go stand in the hallway and wait as the old squeaky wheelie cart with the one spinney wheel stopped at each classroom. I could hear that cart from down the corridor and around the corner.
The year I began fourth grade, my one and only thought was that darned cart and I remember thinking to myself, “I have arrived." Ridiculous, I know, but to my 10-year-old mind that was all that mattered.
Soon enough, it was my turn to steer the snack cart. I remember walking up to it and thinking how much smaller it was now that I was older. As my partner and I began our route down the hall, I beamed with pride. Carefully, we peddled our bags of chips and I took the money and put it in the manila envelope. On rare occasions, I got to make change and I felt like a big shot.
About halfway through the school, I began to wonder when I would be able to have snack myself. Then it dawned on me. With great power comes a price. I realized that those selling the snacks don’t get to eat snack that day.
It was at that point I realized that hawking chips during my snack time was not going to work for me. I learned a great lesson about goals and sacrifice.
There are times when you want something so badly you have to go without in other areas. I have carried this lesson with me for more than 20 years. You can’t sell your snacks and eat them too!